Prime Minister Hun Sen and Dy Vichea, the deputy chief of the National Police, filed lawsuits against Sam Rainsy, the “acting president” of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), for defamation in a Parisian court on Tuesday.
The court action comes after Rainsy, on June 2, accused Hun Sen of being behind the death of Vichea’s father, former police chief Hok Lundy, in a helicopter crash in 2008.
Rainsy went on to allege that Vichea was plotting revenge with Minister of Interior Sar Kheng against the prime minister over his father’s death.
The CNRP co-founder called on Hun Sen, Sar Kheng and Vichea, who is also the prime minister’s son-in-law, to sue him in a French court if his allegations were unfounded.
Rainsy is living in France to avoid a slew of outstanding legal cases and convictions in the Kingdom.
Law firm Brosselet, Doyez and Leick, representing Hun Sen and Dy Vichea, said it formally filed lawsuits against Rainsy for defamation in the French capital on Tuesday.
Hun Sen filed the complaint against Rainsy after he posted on Facebook a video of an interview with Voice of America (VoA) in which he accused the prime minister of being behind the death of Lundy, the law firm added.
“On a personal and political level, Hun Sen always forgives his countrymen. The prime minister does not want to sue Sam Rainsy, but his accusations are absolutely unforgivable. This is why Hun Sen has decided to file the lawsuit against Rainsy.
“The French courts will judge that this case is a violation of freedom of expression,” Brosselet, Doyez and Leick said.
Vichea’s lawyers cited the same reasons for filing their complaint.
“Sam Rainsy has abused Dy Vichea with his accusation that he believed his father was killed by Hun Sen. This is in stark contrast to what Vichea believes regarding the death of his father.
“Dy Vichea cannot accept being defamed by such an allegation. Sam Rainy’s accusations seriously affect the honour and reputation of Dy Vichea, which requires him to file a lawsuit with the court,” the law firm said.
Political analyst Em Sovanna said filing a lawsuit in a French court would help dispel any doubts the Cambodian public may have.
“It will be good to rid any doubt among citizens. Secondly, Sam Rainsy always exaggerates, so those filing the lawsuits can sue and when the French court rules it will be believable for both parties, Sam Rainsy and the CPP,” Sovanna said.
Political analyst Lao Mong Hay said: “Prime Minister Hun Sen’s and Dy Vichea’s lawsuits against Sam Rainsy in the French law courts, known to be independent and impartial, should be welcome news.
Early last month, Sar Kheng, who is also deputy prime minister, filed a complaint at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court against Rainsy, requesting the court to sentence him according to the law and demanding four billion riel ($1 million) in compensation.
Sam Rainsy could not be reached by The Post for comment on Tuesday.
However, in early June, he said on Facebook that he was waiting to fight Hun Sen in French courts, claiming the prime minister would be looking at defeat as a French court would reveal the truth.